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Peterbilt Conventionals Classic Little Windows

1939 through 1973

For photos of actual Peterbilts click Here


The Truck That Pete Built

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The original issue of the AMT Peterbilt "California Hauler" kit #T500-500 featured a really nice box with two 359s on the front cover and a green and black 359 on the side.  I decided to build the side truck.  I found a matching paint at True Value hardware (the paint is a store-brand and required a coat of Duplicolor clear coat to seal the paint). My kit was an unpainted built up and required some glue-stain clean up.  I also added length to the front of the fenders as AMT designed the 359 fenders too short.  I added the raised rolled lip to the fenders also.  K&S aluminum tubing was used for the exhaust stand pipes. Everything else is out of the box.  This truck was one of my builds for Truckers Corner in Model Cars magazine.

Peterbilt in the weeds

The 351 Relic

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 This originally started as a what would be come my red  Huston Marlowe Trucking Pete 281.  I had an immediate paint failure, and decided to run with it.  Creating a neglected old Pete, just waiting for someone with pockets full of cash to restore it.  Note the bent antenna, missing glass and handles.

1961 Peterbilt 281 tractor

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1961 Peterbilt 281.  Huston Marlowe Trucking.  My first 351/281 using the Griffen Designs hood.  RNK Conversions tires and Alcoa wheels.  Clint Freeman Components single headlights.  Thanks to Evan Hermel for the HM Trucking logos.


Peterbilt 351 Big Bunk

The Peterbilt 351 long-nose "chicken truck" was one of several models built for an on-line contest on the Yahoo! Model Truck Discussions Group.  The big Pete won 1st place in the Highway class!

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The Pete features a Griffen Designs 351 long hood conversion, scratchbuilt ITC 132" sleeper, scratchbuilt tool cabinets, scratchbuilt frame rails, lengthened fuel tanks (PVC pipe wrapped in chrome foil), Mo'Luminum custom Vortox breather, scratchbuilt/modified AMT deep taper bumper, polished aluminum stacks, train horn (model railroad item) on the rear deck, and plenty of Bare Metal Foil.(summer 2004)

1971 Peterbilt 359-127"

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1971 Peterbilt 359-127.  Built for the owner of the real truck.  325" wheelbase. I used 2 Revell 359 chassis, Spaulding Trading and Shipping resin long hood, Mo'Luminum stainless Vortox Air Cleaners and Stainless Texas bumper.  Stainless deckplating.  Scratchbuilt tool cabinets.  Fat 8" straight pipes. Clint Freeman single headlights.  Colors are black metallic and a mix of Boyds Grape and Purple.  Bare Metal Foil and 3M chrome tape were used extensively.

Note:  wipers and some other doo-dads are still missing

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If you haven't tried Mo'Luminum's breathers or bumpers, you don't know what you are missing!  Superb! Check out his fuel tanks, air tanks, air horns and now headlights! 

1963 Peterbilt 351

1963 Peterbilt 351.  This is based on a real truck "Pride of '63" owned by Chuck Kemner of Florida.(Now owned by the Bumpas family of Ohio)  He stretched his 351 to a 300" wheelbase, used 3 KW sleepers for a 90" bunk.  Mine has a Griffen Designs 351 hood, RNK tool boxes.  The frame is automotive chrome, as the real one is polished aluminum.

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1949 Peterbilt 280 

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This little classis Peterbilt was inspired by a photo in the book Peterbilt-The Legend of Class.  I used an AMT Peterbilt 359 kit as the donor with the cab/hood/fenders being resin from the old Silver State Specialties company.


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This is how the 289 looked after the first rebuild.

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This Peterbilt 289 started as a Ebay built-up purchased in late '99.  Originally blue, I repainted it green, cut the frame to a single axle.  I later added some RNK tool boxes and gold stripes.   Then in mid 2007 decided it needed rebuilding (after being damaged).  I stripped the paint, reworked some of the original flaws and repainted it cream, black and red.  The wheels are resin items from STS (I think?). The California Lines decals are from the MovinOn decal sheet from JBOT. 7/23/07 

Dirty and used

1971 Peterbilt 359 looking rather grimy.  This particular model used to be dark red with black fenders.  It was the first model truck kit that I bought in July of 1999 that officially launched my model truck building frenzy.  The poor thing suffered from learning and beginners mistakes and then a shelf accident.  I tore it down and stripped the paint and put it back in a box in 2004.  I took it back out of the box recently and rebuilt it as a work horse. Not beat on, just not polished up.  Bug guts, bird poo, grime.. you name it.

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The headache rack was scratchbuilt from tree/sprue material.  Finished June 23, 2006


Matched Set - Peterbilt 348 dumper and 359 tractor

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Back in July of 2005 I wanted to build these two matched trucks out of nothing but old parts and junkers.  The only new parts are the resin tires from the old RNK Conversion, the air cleaner from the old MTFAco (now www.aitruckmodels.com) and clear plastic for the windows.  The doors signs were custom made for my by Gary at MAG decals. Finished in Feb 2006.

Class Ad

Inspired by the 1972 Peterbilt 359 used in the Class Ads and brochures at the time, I started with an AMT T500 Peterbilt California Hauler kit.  Close to box stock (I just can not build 100% box stock!) but with Revell of Germany 359 fenders (more accurate), 5 hole Budd rear wheels, extra battery box (tool cabinet under passenger door), grilledensor, deep taper bumper and polished aluminum exhaust pipes.  1/2006


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Paint is Duplicolor brown metallic over Duplicolor Bright White.

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The 359 will have 2 matching COE's eventually.  One a turbine powered unit.

pbspotlight.jpg (25053 bytes) Note the spotlight in the photo on the left.  I used a 1/4inch long piece of Evergreen round rod for the spotlight arm, drilled a hole in the cab and glued the spot light into position.
grilledensor.jpg (15555 bytes) On the left is the GrilleDensor.  A PACCAR air conditioning condensor that eliminated the need for a rooftop unit on 359s.  To make one, you need a spare AMT 359 grille.  Cut out the complete grille screen.  Sand the outer edges smooth, cover with Bare Metal Foil.  Sand the back flat.  Remove any raised detail from the front of the grille that will be mounted on the truck. Glue the "grilledensor" to the grille on the truck. This antenna is made from thin Evergreen rod, painted silver. The mounts are 2 small sections of larger round rod, painted black and silver and glued to the antenna mast.


'72 Peterbilt 359 - Chocolate & Butterscotch

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1972 Peterbilt 359

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1972 Peterbilt 359 Unilite.  The Little Window Peterbilt with a stretched frame, big sleeper, Italeri Pete wheels and stacks.  5 horns grace the roof.

Peterbilt 358 tilt hood

Timblue358.jpg (65008 bytes)  model pics 001.jpg (49176 bytes) 1965 Peterbilt 358 tilt hood.  An AMT T500 "California Hauler" modified for the narrow tilt hood.  The white stripe is from the AMT Diamond Reo.  Pirkle Refrigerated Freight is the company name on the doors and bumper.

Peterbilt 359-127"

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Peterbilt 359-127.  AMT's Little Window (UniLite) cab with a resin long hood from Spaulding Trading and Shipping.  I also used Revell 359 fenders for this. A left side air cleaner was added. A model similar to this built by Phil Jensen and seen in his book Building Model Trucks inspired me to build this.

'61 Peterbilt 351

Tim351white_orange.jpg (61490 bytes) 351.JPG (69607 bytes) hiway9.jpg (43091 bytes)1961 Peterbilt 351.  A photo in the ATHS magazine Show Time inspired me to build this restored Pete.  Using a Griffen Designs 351 hood, Clint Freeman Componants headlights, and kitbashed parts make for a cool looking classic Peterbilt.

'72 Peterbilt 351 dumper

Tim351dumper.jpg (62164 bytes) 351dumpertop.jpg (32013 bytes)1972 Peterbilt 351 dumper.  I built this out of nothing but junk parts and sheet-stock styrene.  Loosely based on a real 351 that operated in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Peterbilt Heavy Tractor

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1950's Peterbilt 390 heavy tractor.  RNK Conversions SSS-Classic Pete resin cab and hood, RNK Conversions wheels and tires.  Modified Pete 359 chassis with a heavy duty suspension added.

Peterbilt 351 logger

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Peterbilt 351 West Coast logger.  Based on a real truck seen in an article in the ATHS Wheels of Time magazine.  I modified the kit hood from a wide front 359 to the narrow nose 351.  The frame rails are scratchbuilt from Plastruct sheet stock..  Wheels and tires are RNK Conversion items.  The trailer is the AMT Peerless Roadrunner.

Peterbilt 351 tanker  - PIE

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  Dressed in PIE colors and banners, Pacific Intermountain Express ran Pete's and KW's as truck-trailer combinations.  Griffen Designs 351 hood, RNK Conversions Alcoa Wheels and tires all around.  This truck has a matching trailer and dolly.  The tank body is a modified IMC milk tank body.     PIE Decals are from Spaulding Trading and Shipping.

Peterbilt 359  


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1967 Peterbilt 359.  UniLite/Little Window cab.  Several subtle modifications were made to the kit. Single fuel tank, single exhaust stack, no bumper fog lights, no visor, painted 5 hole rear wheels, painted radiator/crown (standard back then).  Peterbilt nameplates are etched metal from Model Car Garage.  I originally planned it as a daycab, then added the sleeper but wasn't happy with the paint match so I removed the sleeper.


Truckload of AMT

We often wonder how AMT delivered all it's models, and now we know!  Back in 1969 AMT issued the Fruehauf beaded side 40 foot trailer (#T507) as a companion to the California Hauler Peterbilt 359 (T500). 

 The box art was typical of AMT of the era, a nice painting showing the rig on I-75 outside of Troy, Michigan.  I recently obtained several built-ups in fairly good condition, only needed tear-down, paint strip and repainting.  Included was a complete set of the T507 AMT decals!  I saved the decals with Microscale Decal Film, but the long black stripes still cracked, so I used vinyl tape instead.  I added to the AMT theme with custom lettering "Another truckload of AMT trucks" and such.

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I thought I'd go one step further on the truckload of kits idea

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Rebuilding both the Fruehauf and the Peterbilt 359 was enjoyable, the original builder (from Wisconsin) built them in 1970, and wrapped them up in paper and stored them in 1972 until I obtained them (August 2004). The build quality was quite good, they were borderline "leave as they are" but the decals were peeling, and glue joints breaking.  If you look at the trailer, I kept the original green hubs, both the trailer and tractor were dark emerald green (old Testors I'm sure).

amt359_oval.jpg (17722 bytes) I used the molded-on Peterbilt nameplates, covering them in Bare Metal Foil, then coloring in the logo with a red Sharpie marker, then lightly sanding the emblem with 2000 grit sandpaper.  These look really sharp! 

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Here's something else I like to do to the AMT Peterbilts, both the reissue (old T501) and the original T500.  Both kits had fenders that are not correct.  They are too short in the front, leaving a large 6 inch gap from the fender to the bumper, the outer edge of the fender is missing the raised and rolled edge, and the mud flaps are too short.  I lengthen the fenders, add the rolled edge using round Evergreen, and add Revell of Germany Peterbilt mudflaps.

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Classic '49 Peterbilt 350

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I built this 1949 Peterbilt 350 in September 2000.  It was a prototype resin cab from Silver State Specialties.  I never really liked how it looked in the 1st build.  The flat-black chassis and fuel tanks and tiny drom-deck looked odd

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I repainted the chassis yellow, reshot "Bumper Chrome" on the Mercury sleeper, replaced the rear wheels, added a Revell cab guard and chrome fuel tanks and a Pete battery box along with some diamond plate decking behind the bunk.


'67 Peterbilt 359 


1967 Peterbilt 359. I started with a built-up T500 kit that had numerous breaks and glue-gobbed parts.  I shortened the wheelbase, shortened the fuel tanks, swapped in a Farr dry-type air cleaner from a Diamond Reo kit, some single headlights (MTFA metal lights on kit plastic brackets), then decided to go one step further and cut the cab up for an opening door.  

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I cut the kit interior tub, (the interior was built), added sunvisors and a CB to the header panel, also a horn-pull strap was added.  The door hinges are round plastic tube with a metal wire hinge pin.

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The stripes and Peterbilt nameplate are JBOT items. The stripe is the Will Chandler stripe from the Movin'On decal sheet.


Peterbilt 359 grain hauler

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One of my first 359 Ebay rebuilds.  This one started with a broken frame and bad chrome.  I repainted the cab, added a Mercury sleeper, stretched the frame, painted all the chrome silver for a dull aluminum look, made some single headlamps from a Ford LNT kit, scratchbuild the tool box and painted the frame green.   The trailer was bought off eBay unbuilt but already cut down and the tarp bows already cut and marked for installation.  I built the trailer as the original builder had planned years ago.

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